Somehow I felt I had to justify this sermon title for John 15:1-8 at our combined Uniting Church/Church of Christ service this morning.
During the week, with ANZAC Day music playing in the background, while I exegeted the Greek text of “abiding,” my attention was drawn to jazz variations of the ubiquitous commemoration hymn, “Abide with Me.” Here is what I listened to and played to our combined congregations this morning.
The “I am” sayings attributed to Jesus in John’s Gospel are the set piece that gives rise to expansion, repetition and poetic exploration much in the way a jazz orchestra explores a theme. While we listened to the BJO’s rendition of “Abide With Me” we noticed the cornet setting the main theme as the accompanying instruments almost champed at the bit, waiting for their opportunities to respond, improvise and interpret, the cornet later rounds them up bringing them back to the central theme. We then looked at the John 15 passage, observing how the text works in much the same way, illustrating the unity to which abiding in Christ individually and collectively identifies and which cannot be separated.
Yep, we were swingin’ on the vine!